Towards Intelligent Construction Conference

20 November 2011

The Conference that took place on 30 November at RIBA’s Jarvis Hall was Buildoffsite’s biggest event of 2011. Developed and delivered in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects the event was attended by 250 delegates. The host was Angela Brady, RIBA’ s President, with Richard Ogden of Buildoffsite chairing the proceedings. The Conference was sponsored by Tekla and the Department for Business.

The Conference title – Towards Intelligent Construction- was chosen to reflect the need for the construction industry to adopt new and more effective ways of working, in order to offer better construction solutions and to deliver much better value for clients and customers. It is not about suppliers making minor modifications at the margins but rather the need for a fundamental reshaping of the technologies, processes and relationships that are applied within the industry. This includes smarter build solutions including the increased use of offsite solutions, the application of the principles of design for manufacture and assembly, the use of lean production techniques to eliminate process waste and the increased and intelligent use of Building Information Modelling.

The need to ensure a quality built environment requires great architecture with architects able to take advantage of the opportunities that more efficient construction methods can offer to deliver genuinely stunning buildings, without the compromises that often result from the use of traditional construction methods.

The Conference featured two significant case studies, the first being the British Land project at 122 Leadenhall Street in the City of London. Commonly referred to as the Cheese Grater, this stunning and technically challenging development is being constructed by Laing O’Rourke and will be completed 6 months ahead of schedule through the application of intelligent construction techniques, including the use of Building Information Modelling, with the use of offsite manufactured components accounting for 85 per cent of the building.

The second case study featured the development programme of elective surgery hospitals by Circle Health Properties. This substantial investment programme is characterised by the requirement for excellence in design, excellence in construction, excellence in use and excellence in customer experience. The expert client in collaboration with their supply chain is constantly challenging what it does and why it does it, as well as taking the learning points from each hospital project and applying the lessons to their next projects. This process ensures that tangible benefits in terms of more effective design and construction techniques, reduced cost of ownership, provision for adaptation, and the development of clinical and customer services are being achieved in a way that also ensures that waste in all its forms is being eliminated. The client’s supply chain is deploying Building Information Modelling both to manage the overall design and construction process and to drive efficiency in the building form.

Circle has already achieved a 30 per cent reduction in construction costs whilst delivering exceptional architecture and build quality. About 80 per cent of project value is being delivered through the use of offsite manufactured components and assemblies. This is a fantastic achievement, but Circle believes that there is much more value to be gained through close collaboration with an expert and committed supply chain.

There were also presentations on the future of BIM by Stephen Hamil, the Director of Design and Innovation, RIBA Enterprises, and on collaborative working and continuous improvement by Paul Fletcher, RIBA’s Councillor and chair of the RIBA Construction Strategy Group, Director Through-Architecture.

The conference was very well received by delegates and the presentations and Panel Session stimulated some passionate and well informed debate. Feedback from delegates has been incredibly positive, both about the learning from the presentations but also about the value of a mixed design and construction community together coming together to exchange ideas on meeting immediate challenges and on creating a better industry.

This was the first time that Buildoffsite has collaborated in such a visible way with RIBA. We will shortly be meeting with Angela Brady and her senior management team to identify how we can jointly build on this achievement, and begin to flesh out a shared work-programme for 2012.

Case study 1: The Leadenhall Building

Presentations from:

– Matthew White, British Land: the client

– Andy Young, Rogers Stirk Harbour: the architect

– Damian Eley and James Thonger, Arup: the consultant

– Andy Butler, Laing O’Rourke: the constructor

Case study 2: Circle’s Capital Project Programme

Presentations from:

– Mark Cammies, Property Director, Circle

– Darron Haylock, Partner, Foster and Partner

– Jaimie Johnston, Director, Bryden Wood


Case study 1: The Leadenhall Building
Download Case study 1: The Leadenhall Building
Case study 2: Circle's Capital Project Programme
Download Case study 2: Circle's Capital Project Programme